EXCLUSIVE: Charisma Carpenter on I Survived Evil

I Survived Evil is not just the title of our NEW series that Charisma Carpenter will be hosting — it’s also a declaration the actress herself can make.

I Survived Evil: Charisma Carpenter

Recounted in each survivor’s own words, the series is an empowering and emotional look at true-crime stories, in which the victim turns the table on their assailant in order to stay alive.

Series host and actress Charisma Carpenter (many fans will know her primarily as the feisty Cordelia Chase from the cult TV series Buffy The Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel) kicks off tonight's show with a terrifying first-person account as the survivor of a near-fatal incident that she endured when she was 22 years old.

We caught up the accomplished actress and survivor to talk about how the series came about and how she triumphed in the face of adversity.

How did show come about? Were you looking to share your story?

I was not looking to share my story but when I was approached by a TV company, I was open to it. Particularly because of the people involved, the point of view in which the show would reveal the survivor's stories and the quality of the programming was guaranteed.

Did you need convincing?

Less convincing and more reassurances of the quality of programming and that the survivors’ stores would be respected. I hoped to have some creative input. These were my target concerns. "Surviving Evil" is the official title over here. The message is Survival under duress. The story telling is the suspense.

Did you find it hard to watch your episode?

It wasn't difficult to watch at all. I was actually impressed with how it all came together. I am very grateful. It’s produced so well.

Did you find narrating cathartic?

Narrating is less cathartic than learning how these women have survived and gone on to live productive lives. They were not broken by their personal traumas. The human spirit is resilient. I find the show and these women inspiring.

After your attack, how did you find strength to carry on?

The support of my family and friends. But ultimately, I’d recommend getting professional help for Post- Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Counselling, albeit a controversial topic in the US, saved my life. Had I not gotten therapy I would not be the person I am today. I am grateful to the "Victim Witness" programme that helped finance that therapy.

I find balance by just doing it. "Sink or swim" style. I am an active Mother, actress and now host of this show. I have tremendous support in my son's father in spite of being divorced. Balance would not be possible without his participation.

So tell us, what’s been your favourite role to date?

First and foremost, being a MOM! But in my career, I will always love playing Cordelia Chase in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Recently though, I played a new character, Marianne Romano, on CBS's Blue Bloods. She was fun to play! I had to use a Staten Island accent, pouf my hair up and adorn Leopard spandex head to toe.

I Survived Evil, Fridays at 9 pm

Interview: Lucy Anne Iles